What is a Content Calendar and Why Do You Need One?
Posting consistently and staying on top of your social media can be hard. That is why creating a content calendar can help you. Learn all about what a content calendar is, why you need one, and how you can build one.
Setting up your own content calendar soon? Hear this out!
Maintaining an Instagram account is like running a grocery store. Think about it. A grocery store requires you to stock up on fresh produce every day. But the most important part is to stock up at the right time every day. Example: in the morning, so that everyone can buy their groceries fresh.
Similarly, Instagram requires you to post fresh content consistently. Just like the grocery store, when you post your content also matters. You need to optimize your strategy in such a way that your posts go up when a maximum number of your followers are likely to be online.
I know what you’re thinking. I can barely keep track of all my appointments and meetings. How on earth am I going to remember to do all this every day? That’s where a content calendar comes in! Let’s look at what it is and how it can help you with your social media strategy!
What Is a Content Calendar?
A content calendar is a schedule of all your upcoming social media posts, including what you’re going to post and when. It helps you see your weekly or monthly schedule at one glance.
A typical social media content calendar usually contains the following things organized neatly:
- The content you are going to post (including photos/ videos and captions)
- The time and date of publishing
- The social media channel in which it is going to be published (example: Instagram, Twitter)
- Any links that need to be included along with the post
- People/ brands that you need to tag
- Whether it is a post or a story
Image from CoSchedule.
Why Do You Need a Content Calendar?
Stay Organized and Post Consistently
When it comes to building your brand on social media, posting consistently is key. You need to show up on your followers’ feeds frequently. Social media algorithms are also designed to boost your page more when you are consistent. If you take a gap from posting, even for a few days, your engagement rates will drop drastically.
Posting on social media needs attention and effort everyday. And sure, you’ll be fine for the first week, no biggie. But what about when you’re on week 5 and running low on energy or feeling uninspired?
This is when a content calendar helps you out because 1) your schedule is organized weeks in advance, so you don’t have to put a lot of effort into it everyday, and 2) it actually makes sure that content gets posted on your pages!
No more getting overwhelmed by trying to stay on top of all your social media pages! And no more spending half the day on planning, scheduling, and posting. This will free up a lot of time in your day that you can use for other things such as networking.
Get an Overview of Upcoming Stuff
When you’re managing multiple accounts and several campaigns simultaneously, it can be really easy to miss if you accidentally repeat your posts. And scrolling through your feed everyday to check is simply not feasible.
With a content calendar you will get a full overview of upcoming as well as past posts, which means no more mistakes! This also makes it easy to check if you’ve missed out on scheduling anything. For example: special campaigns on holidays.
Make Adjustments Easily
Having your whole schedule laid out in front of you makes it easy to spot errors and make adjustments. Do you have a lot of videos scheduled together? No problem! Move things around. Did you schedule the same post across two platforms by mistake? Change it!
Something came up last minute? No need to make a separate reminder for it so that you don’t forget! Just add it in your content calendar and you’re good to go. In short, an organized content calendar equals no more social media crises.
Collaborate With Your Team Efficiently
Social media management is rarely a solitary task. There is the copywriter, the graphic designer, the video editor, and finally the manager themselves.
A content calendar makes collaborating with your team easy. You can keep track of who is working on what and whether any deadlines are being missed. In short, it ensures that no part of your content creating process is going awry.
Moreover, having more eyes look over the schedule can make it easier to spot if something is amiss.
Track Your Analytics
Remember what I told you about Instagram being like a grocery store where posting at the right time is also crucial? It can be hard to gauge when to post. It is different for everybody, and with the algorithm, it keeps changing. In the beginning, it might need a bit of trial and error.
Having a content calendar can help you track your analytics at the same place. You can see what is working and what isn’t and make changes accordingly. This will take your strategy to the next level.
Okay, great. You’ve convinced me! So how do I go about building a content calendar?
How To Build Your Content Calendar
The first step is to create a template by making a list of everything you need to keep track of. Example: Post type, date, time, social media platform, caption. To make things easier, you can have separate content calendars for each social media platform. Remember, a good content calendar is one that has all the features you need.
The next step is to decide your posting frequency and timings. You may need to do a little research for this one. Take a look at your in-built social media analytics, research when people are most likely to be online in your state/ country, and plan accordingly. This won’t be 100% accurate, but using your calendar, you can track it and tweak it as you go.
Once everything is ready, start planning out your posts and updating them on your content calendar.
Pro Tip: Optimize your calendar layout in such a way that you get the full weekly overview at a glance. Note down important holidays and special days on the calendar in advance so that you don’t forget to upload your posts on those days.
Where Can I Build My Content Calendar?
A social media content calendar neither needs to be fancy, nor complicated. You can use good old Google Sheets with each column depicting a different field. Another great option is Notion with its wide variety of project management tools.
Apart from these, there are several content planning tools designed specifically for this purpose. CoSchedule and Trello have a card-like layout that makes it very easy to manage and move things around.
Other similar tools include Smartsheet, MarketMuse, and ContentCal. You can go one step further and use tools like Loomly and OnlyPult that even auto-publish to your social media during the scheduled times!
Build your content calendar, establish your workflow, and never miss a deadline! After all, when there are tools that can make your life easier, it would be a waste not to use them. Let us know about your results in the comments below!